Jul 02, 2015
According to World Bank, Bangladesh has graduated to a lower-middle income country, with the Gross National Income per capita (GNI) soaring to $1314, well above the global lender's set threshold of $1,045.After being bracketed as a low-income country for decades, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, after assuming to power, has devised a varied assortment of policies that led the country to achieve that landmark attainment expeditiously. The government plans to turn the country into a middle income one by 2021.
In an interview with the BBC world news service, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has highlighted a wide range of policies her government has formulated and is implementing that have made Bangladesh gain remarkable strides in achieving the MDGs. Replying to a question, she said that her government has provided girls with scholarship upto bachelor level and other initiatives. She also upheld her renewed pledge of zero tolerance to deal with the rise of any terrorist and fundamentalist force.
Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserve crossed all time high $ 25 billion mark on Sunday, almost 20% higher than $21.32 billion in the same day of previous year. Experts have attributed to a steady growth of both export earnings and inward remittances behind the landmark attainment. The reserve first crossed the $23-billion mark in February last year and is able to settle import bills for more than seven months. Currently, Bangladesh is ranked second in South Asia for foreign exchange reserves.
According to the recently published Global Peace Index, Bangladesh has demonstrated significant gains being made in maintaining peaceful atmosphere inside the country, moving 14 notches up from previous year. Ranked as the third most peaceful country in South Asia, Bangladesh has registered to be in a better state than India and Pakistan. The report states that Bangladeshis, in a global context, are privileged to enjoy a more peaceful state than the people of USA, as the latter sands 10 points behind Bangladesh.
In another demonstration of her firm commitment to combat global terrorism, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has extended her condolence and denounced the wake of two recent terrorist attacks in France and Kuwait that claimed more than 27 lives. Through separate messages, the primer said the brutal force of terrorists must be destroyed. She also reiterated her call for manifesting untied efforts to fight against this menace.
Infrastructure and Mega Projects
Taking a giant stride forward the government has signed an agreement with an Indo-Bangla joint venture firm to part-develop the country’s maiden business hi-tech park in Kaliakoir involving $207.59 million. Summit Technopolis, a joint venture between local Summit Group and India's Infinity, will construct and develop two of the five blocks of the 232-acre park. The completion of the construction of the plant buildings, scheduled to end by ten year, would create some 60,000 technology based jobs.
In a bid to give the national and sub-regional trade a major boost, the Asian Development Bank(ADB) has pledged to provide Bangladesh with $505 million in loan aiming to upgrade the country's main Dhaka-Chittagong railway corridor with second railway track. Some 72-kilometre long dual gauge double line will be constructed in Akhaura to Laksam track. In addition, the upgrade work will take place in railway corridor from Tongi to Cox's Bazar, an integral part of Trans-Asia Railway Network.
Growth and Development
Thanks to the intensified and visionary diplomatic efforts demonstrated by the government, Malaysia has announced to recruit as many as 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh in the next three years. Both the countries are expected to sign the agreement this month. These workers will be involved in various fields, especially in the plantation sector and will meet the demands of the job market in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.
The government has taken up a Tk 1,381 crore project to protect four cities, including Dhaka, from earthquakes. Under the project,an electronic construction permitting system will be established and a professional accreditation body for engineers, architects and planners would be formed. Meanwhile a team of Japanese experts prepared six separate manuals for Bangladesh that will help in constructing earthquake resistant buildings as well as strengthening vulnerable old buildings.
Power and Energy
Last week the government has marched another step forward towards making its promise of “ensuring electricity for all by 2021” a reality, as Summit Group, country’s leading power producer, will invest at least $1 billion to build five power plants capable of producing 1,310 megawatts (MW) of electricity by 2020. In addition, works are progressing fast so that Bangladesh will start receiving a total 1,100 MW of electricity from India by next January.
As part of stepped up efforts to develop energy security of the country, the government has embarked on a plan for setting up solar power plants with a capacity of 900 megawatt. A renewable energy policy has been framed for the development of renewable energy and green energy. In addition, works are progressing fast to establish wind power plants with a capacity of about 700 MW in public and private sectors across the country.
Trade and Investment
Bangladesh, along with countries from five continents formally signed up to the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, dubbed as China’s own version of the World Bank.Bangladesh will have to pay initially $132.1 million in five installments to become an AIIB member. Once the bank is functional, Dhaka will apply for project loans and technical assistance. The bank is expected to have a share capital of $100 billion, with $20 billion paid in initially.
In the wake of successful diplomatic efforts, Thailand has approved duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) access to as many as 6,998 Bangladeshi products to its market to bridge the existing trade-gap between the two countries. Fifteen more Bangladeshi goods, including readymade garments (RMG), pharmaceuticals and agricultural products, will gradually get the facility. The bilateral trade between the countries is worth over $1.2 billion, but Bangladesh's exports account for less than $100 million.
International and Regional Cooperation
Dhaka and Bangkok have agreed to fight together against human trafficking, money laundering, and drug smuggling and plans to sign a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) for joint investigations. The decision to ink the deal was made the first-ever Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) at foreign secretary level in Dhaka yesterday.The MoU will be signed between the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) of Thailand and the Special Branch (SB) of police of Bangladesh to combat transnational crimes.
Bangladesh’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN AK Abdul Momenhas been made the Chairman of UN’s Asia-Pacific Group. The noted diplomat has been selected for the position after consent of the 55 member countries of the Group. The member countries of the Group have been divided into five sections -- Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Eastern and Western Europe.
Digital Bangladesh
Through its visionary steps, the Awami League government has brought the nation closer to ‘Digital Bangladesh’, a party-promise unanimously trusted by the countrymen. In its continuation, government has chalked out plans on turning 8,500 post offices into e-centres for reaching information and communication technology services to the rural people. To that goal, some 2,500 post offices have been providing services on a trial basis.
The government has taken initiatives to transform textbook contents of technical education into e-books and mobile applications (apps) aiming at improving quality of education. Initially, textbook contents of 65 different trades of SSC (Vocational) course would be transformed into e-books and mobile apps within the next five months. Moreover, fast track progresses are being made to make textbooks of secondary level students go digital by next September.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives